İrem GÖL - TDO- Libyan armed factions have defied a UN call for “global ceasefire” by escalating fighting across the country, with forces loyal to eastern warlord Gen Khalifa Haftar claiming to have gained control of a string of towns in the north-west. A spokesman for Haftar said his forces, the Libyan National Army had also repulsed an offensive by the UN-backed government of national accord designed to capture its key airbase.
The two sides in a conflict that has raged since 2014 briefly agreed last weekend to a humanitarian truce, but within 24 hours fighting resumed at an even more intense pace. Both sides seem to believe that with international actors distracted by the coronavirus pandemic now is the right moment to try to take decisive steps in the civil war. The upsurge in fighting, probably the worst since the current phase of the civil war began, came as the first coronavirus case was revealed in the country and led to yet another UN Security Council call for both sides to end the fighting. However, the UN’s credibility in Libya is at rock bottom with weapons embargoes openly breached and the UN special envoy, Ghassan Salame, quitting in disgust at competition in the country by the big powers.